Missed Connections - Album Reviews for Red Hot Chili Peppers, Papa Roach, Five Hundred Bucks and Hitch & Go

Every so often, we miss a new album release as there are literally hundreds of albums that come out each year. It’s hard to catch them all unless you are paying very close attention. In times like this, we try to go back on what fell through the cracks. These are the “missed connections” that we try to follow up.

In this particular instance, we are going to get through 4 reviews in one as April and May have been stacked with new releases, and time is as tight as ever.

April 1st, 2022

Red Hot Chili Peppers - Unlimited Love - 4.2 out of 5 stars - For me, this is a big misfire by the Chili Peppers as the only two song I would say are legitimately good are “These Are The Ways” and “Whatchu Thinkin’.” 

Most of the songs are either a pretty generic Chili Peppers’ song or a bastardization of some funk / jazz alternate version of a typical Chili Peppers’ song (and yeah, I know they are at heart a funk rock band…that’s what makes it so weird to see them sort of muck up the funk songs).

“Black Summer” is a decent starter song. Very much a standard song for the band, but Anthony Kiedis gets a bit weird with some sort of accent that just doesn’t make sense for the song (at least not that I can tell).

Overall, there are 17 songs on this album, so you are bound to like a couple of songs on this albu, and considering this is the first song in what seems like forever (6 years now). But there are a lot of songs that will likely turn you off as well. 

One thing I will say is that I did like the album more on a second and third listen than upon a first impression, but that has always been how I felt about their albums. I guess there is something to be said about those “slow burn” types of songs. You have high expectations, get disappointed, and then once you think, “This is crap,” you can go back to it with lower expectations and see it’s not as bad as you originally thought.

 

April 8th, 2022

 

Papa Roach - Ego Trip - 3.6 out of 5 stars - Okay, so there’s some good news here. The first song on this album is called “Kill The Noise,” and I was pretty pleased to hear it, because it is classic Papa Roach, and it rips pretty hard.

Now the bad news. Unfortunately, the rest of the album wreaks of the stench of bad L.A. rock bands that still want to emulate the early 90s glam rock garbage that I never liked much, and I like even less the further removed in time we are from that era.

There are also a couple of misses with the rapping songs that Papa Roach did so well early in their career. On this album the band enlists outside help (maybe to legitimize the rap verses?), but it still is not the same and really just muddies the water with confusion (referencing the song “Swerve (feat. FEVER 333 & Sueco).”

The second song on the album, “Stand Up” has a pretty catchy chorus, but it is a bit of a mess during the verse. It sounds a bit like a bad Nine Inch Nails song (mixed with P.O.D.).

The rest of the album is pretty much not worth the time to listen to, for me personally. However, I can assume that if you have like the last album or two of the band, then you will likely find quite a few songs that you like on this album.



April 29th, 2022

Five Hundred Bucks - $500 - 4.4 out of 5 stars - Five Hundred Bucks’ debut album comes out pretty hot with the song “Animal” right up front, and it keeps a pretty steady diet of fast-paced songs, but it isn’t just another “fast and loud” punk album. I would say these guys are more akin to bands like Millencolin or maybe even Unwritten Law as they can make a variety of songs and use different instruments (like keys) to make for more “ballad-esque” moments on an album. 

This album actually is similar to Dan Andriano’s new solo album in a lot of ways for its varied rock genres coming through at times. No one said the whole album has to sound the same.

“Standby” is one such ballad type song on the album, and while hardcore punk fans are going to be turned off by it, the song shows the range of the band when most bands would prefer to stick to a formula or sound.

Standout songs would be “Animal,” “Spinal,” and “Shit Shape Heart.” The album ends with a bit of an epic song (at 5 minutes and 30 seconds) for a punk band. The song is called “Velvet Arms,” and it is definitely a more chilled out version of punk music that you may put onto a summer song compilation.

 

 

Hitch & Go - A Place That Doesn’t Exist - 4.6 out of 5 stars - Hitch & Go’s debut LP A Place That Doesn’t Exist is a pretty damn good first full-length effort, and that’s probably because the Quebec City based band has been around for about a decade and released a couple of EP’s and singles off and on over the years. 

This band is highly polished, and they have great anthems to sing along to as well. 

Some of my favorite songs on the album are “Dragged Down” (great harmonies), the lead track “Sheep in Wolf’s Clothing” and the title song “A Place That Doesn’t Exist.”

At times, they sound like a seasoned punk band with a fresh voice, and at other times, they sound like a pop-rock band (think of Story of the Year), and I gotta say, it is all pretty damn good.

The song “s.w.y.c.h.t.s.” (which stands for “Say What You Came Here to Say”) is a pretty good example of the pop rock blend that isn’t just punk, but it incorporates some of those heavy riffs that I remember a lot of bands pulling out of their pocket in the early 2000’s (even bands like Fall Out Boy). 

Yet, while I am not a fan of some of those bands I am comparing these guys to, I am a BIG fan of this album and this band. Hitch & Go has figured out the fine line between making poppy-corporate rock trash and high-level pop punk/rock that sounds great. Most bands teeter over the edge. These guys are on the good side of the line though.